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Indian Gas Utility Plans To Bid For 400 Megawatts Of Solar Power

India’s largest gas utility, GAIL India, has announced plans to participate in renewable energy auctions, marking its first foray towards competitive auctions.

According to a recent statement, GAIL will bid for 400 megawatts of solar power capacity in a tender issued by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). The capacity would be spread across three projects planned to be commissioned in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

GAIL owns limited renewable energy capacity, mostly in the form of rooftop solar projects and some wind energy projects. The company, however, has been aggressively looking for acquisitions and partnerships. GAIL had submitted a bid worth US$640 million to acquire 873 megawatts of operational wind energy capacity from IL&FS Wind Energy Limited, a subsidiary of the troubled financial company Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited. However, it lost out to Japan-based Orix, which already owned a minority stake in IL&FS Wind Energy.

According to media reports, GAIL was also in talks with one of India’s largest solar power companies, Acme Cleantech Solutions. Last year, GAIL was reportedly in talks to acquire 49-74% stake in the company, which had 5.5 gigawatts of solar portfolio that that time.

There were also media reports in 2019 that GAIL may partner with Exxon-Mobil to develop a renewable energy platform. There has been no update on the development since. It has, however, formed a partnership with another government-owned company, BHEL, for the development of solar power projects. BHEL is a manufacturer of solar modules and also provides EPC services.

With the planned participation in the SECI solar power tender, GAIL will join other government-owned companies that have recently participated in renewable energy competitive auctions. NTPC, Coal India and SJVN recently secured rights to develop solar power projects in state as well as national-level tenders.

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